Well, when looking at this little doom blue Morris Ital 1.7 SLX for the first time, I thought “wow… that’s steep” but, after a little pondering and reminiscing about my own Ital owned well over 20 years ago, I went all warm and fuzzy.
They say that time heals old wounds and, even though my own Morris Ital (1700 estate) looked as fresh as a daisy, it virtually swallowed up all of my apprentice wages on broken half shafts, springs and other boy racer related self-inflicted battle injuries. Some AROnline readers who have been good acquaintances of mine since schooldays will remember my BT yellow estate AVV 376X – the only car I ever scrapped!
The Ital featured here is the range-topping SLX model which was, along with the lesser spec SL, pretty much a run out car. These two final Morris passenger vehicles were, in fact, produced at Longbridge thus enabling Cowley to tool up and get ready for Maestro production. Powered by the OHC O-Series engine, these Itals would trundle along with a fair rate of knots and also benefitted with a telescopic front damper upgrade which made them slightly less boat-like in the ride and handling department.
Other SLX highlights include intermittent wipers, rev counter, two tone horns, dashboard panel dimmer and that all-important rear seat centre armrest. Mileage is an agreeable 77,000 miles and the car certainly appears to be in good order although the asking price is a bit on the optimistic side. In terms of originality it seems promising, the cigar lighter is original as is the push button MW/LW wireless – even if the latter is only good for TalkSport or something scratchy in French these days. I’ll bet my last Rolo the vendor will accept a reasonable and sensible offer.
To own? Well, they are very DIY friendly with every service aspect being a doddle to do on the driveway and the O-Series engine is pretty robust so long as the cambelt is in good order. Gearboxes are the main mechanical Achilles heel on the Ital with second gear syncromesh being as hard wearing as wet paper. That said, it’s worth considering that, at its present mileage, this car will have either had a gearbox replacement by now or be getting to the point where it may require one.
This one seems to be worth a punt if the price is right – Itals tend to drive okay with plenty of bottom end grunt and can be surprisingly economical if driven right in a good state of fettle, too. Knowledgeable readers will notice some slight errors in the advert but some qualification over the telephone should put the mind at rest for those with a serious interest.
- Essays : Selling the brand - 18 November 2023
- Review : Land Rover Discovery – first off the line - 15 September 2023
- Events : Leyland National 51 gathering, Whitehaven 29-30 April - 5 April 2023